Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Scaling the heights of thrift

I don't know this man who's standing next to the big wheeled bin.

I'm just using this photo to let you know what to expect when you visit Denver's newest thriftspot, the Goodwill Outlet.

Lovely Miriam blogged about the Portland Bins last March on this very blog site, and as you may know if you follow this blog, Mr. Fabulous and I made a pilgrimage to the Bins with Miriam and Sage on a recent visit to Portland. So my expectations were high when my sister and I sashayed into Denver's Bins.

First, I must say that I saw no gentlemen dressed so snappily as the man in the picture on our visit today. No spring-into-summer suit, no ID badge on the belt. The man in the photo looks like he might just as well be a mid-level executive at some blue bin making factory. The atmosphere at Denver's Bins was decidedly low-key.

And I think the Denver thrift audience is still grappling with the concept of buying housewares, clothing, dishes, toys and all kinds of other stuff by the pound. No longer relegated to the bananas at the grocery store or your entire body at Weight Watchers, the scale has entered into the lexicon as a purchasing force to be reckoned with.

Because if you have the stamina and the good fortune to find the treasure among the trash, you'll enjoy the challenge at the Goodwill Outlet - and you'll like the price. I can't remember the exact breakdown, but everything in the bins goes for 1.49 a pound up to 19 pounds, and the price per pound goes down significantly the more stuff you buy.

And folks were loading up today. People of every social class were loading up their carts full of cheap merch.

The Denver Bins store is significantly smaller than the Portland location, but the concept's the same. My sister and I didn't stay long enough to be there as they wheeled out fresh bins loaded with fresh inventory, but the vibe was in the air as we were leaving, and the anticipation level was rising as if the shoppers were expecting a papal audience, or free tickets to Oprah.

But we left after a quick spin through the place.

I think it's safe to say I'll be revisiting the Goodwill Outlet, so I can pick through the bins with a bit more precision.

Maybe I'll see the dapper man in the photo. Until then, I'll call him Gary.

And I'm sure I'll hit the scales.

I've never been fond of the scale. I'm a woman, and I shun weighing myself, my produce and my bulk foods like I shun pastel clothing, mega-malls and cleaning my bathrooms.

I think it's safe to say that buying treasures by the pound will be the only scale I'll see for a while.

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